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The Crown of Halacha

Miketz 5777 – Who Are YOU?

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series Bereishis 5777

Who Are You?

And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew him not. (Bereishis42:8)

Why Are Appearances Deceiving?

Rashi comments on this passuk that when Yosef left home he did not have a beard and now he did.Yet although the brothers never saw Yosef with a beard, wouldn’t they assume he might have one now? Furthermore, Yosef closely resembled his father so the beard would actually help identify him as ben Yaakov. Considering that the brothers were searching for Yosef and that he prophesized he would become their ruler, a beard would seem like very insufficient camouflage.

Misconceptions Cause Blindness

The answer is that the brothers never perceived Yosef clearly even before he grew a beard. When he was young, they falsely accused him of driving a wedge between them and their father. His brothers threw him into a pit filled with snakes and scorpions and then sold him into slavery. In the palace, he was again incorrectly perceived when he was found guilty of attacking Potiphar’s wife and sentenced to life imprisonment. At the momentous occasion of the brothers finally standing in the presence of Yosef they were blinded by their own misconceptions.

How could the brothers ever find Yosef? Since they were looking for someone who they had never really seen so how would they be able to recognize him now!

True Seeing Requires a Spiritual Perception

There are really two aspects of “seeing” that we can learn from this:

1. Unfiltered Sight

First, we see from the way the brothers saw Yosef how careful we have to be in order to guard ourselves against judging people.  In our society, we meet Jews from many backgrounds. Since each Jew is considered the son of the King, the question we have to ask ourselves is, “Am I properly perceiving the greatness of the person I see before me?”  A person cannot claim to see if he does not perceive.

2. Self-Perception is Inside Out

The second is that we must recognize our own selves without prejudice. Even when perceived as a slave, or criminal, Yosef he never lost sight of who he really was. So too, when we look in the mirror we must ask ourselves, “Am I properly perceiving the greatness of the person I see before me?” When we look at ourselves inside out we find out who we really are.

Series Navigation<< Vayaishev 5777 – Do Heroes Run Away?Vayigash 5777 – How Old are You? >>
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